He says to me, he says: He can’t sleep.
He says: He’s got these terrible aches.
And these aches, they aren’t new.

He’s had them before.
They come around,

these aches,
on average of once a year.
And the reason they come around,
these aches,
the reason is always the same.
Some girl.

He says: He knows he’s a pig.
(But not in the sense you’re thinking.)
He says: He can’t stand himself.
He says: He’s tired of feeling. Everything.
All this feeling, he says, it’s exhausting.
He says: It’s debilitating.

He says:
He doesn’t know what
to do
with himself.

And,

he says:
He can’t take his mind off the Future.
Yes, that’s the other thing.
He’s staring at a Dead End.

He says.

And nobody believes him.
I don’t believe him.
Why should you?

He says:

If he can’t express what he wants to express,
then what’s the point of expressing anything?
He doesn’t see the Use, he says.
He wants the pill that’ll put him to sleep.

For good.
He doesn’t want to be in the way.
Doesn’t want to be the source of Drama.
The World, he says, it’ll do fine without him…
…the way, he says, he’s always felt.

Nobody needs him.
Him.

He says.
Anybody can do what he’s done…
what he’s doing
and do it better.

Mistakes, he says, that’s all he makes.
Can’t make one right choice. He says.

Down in New Orleans, Burger King is offering a six thousand dollar signing bonus. To flip burgers. He says. To take your order. He says he heard this on the radio. He says he wishes he could go. There’s work, all kinds, he says, down there.


What’s more, in New Orleans, that’s where the stories are, the stories they’ll be telling for decades, stories that’ll become hit songs, bestselling books, blockbuster movies.


He says, Chuck’s probably down there right now. Collecting all these crazy stories.

But, he says, unlike Chuck, he’s “tied down.” Here.
He can’t just pick up and go.
He’s got to wait.

Though, he could just take off.
Like he says, Nobody needs him.
He says, they don’t come any more expendable than he does.

Christ—he says—why couldn’t he have been crushed by the school’s ceiling in that Pakistani earthquake? Why couldn’t that tsunami’ve washed him away? He says. Why couldn’t an insurgent’s bomb blown him to bits? Instead of some kid or some dad or some mom. He says this to me.

Anyone who died on 9/11, he says. Did any surviving relative or acquaintance think, “Good riddance?” That’s what he says he wants inscribed on his tombstone:

“Here Lies The FireVaney…Good Riddance.”

And here’s the kicker:
He says: That Yoda quote?
“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
He says: It helps to have something to lose, first.

Because, you see, he fears the loss of Possible Eventualities. All of which, I say, have a snowball’s chance in Hell of ever becoming Actual Eventualities. And this is his curse. What he says are Likely Failures and Probable Humiliations are always right there in front of his face.

And he can’t cope.
And he can’t sleep.
So he writes me.
To purge his pain.

About it,
the most he can do,
the best he can do,
is write.

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